MOSCOW, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A decision to accept Oman into the Gas Exporting Countries Forum may open the door to a more broad-based membership, the Russian energy minister said.
Oman during the weekend was welcomed as the latest and 11th member of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, an international natural gas cartel.
Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said the GECF was eager to incorporate more partners as it sought to expand its influence.
"Requests for admission from several other countries are currently under consideration," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "The forum has become an effective platform to discuss very diverse issues of the gas market development."
The online Oil and Gas Journal estimates Oman has proven natural gas reserves of around 30 trillion cubic feet. The country ranks No. 2 in terms of Middle East natural gas exporters.
Russia, Iran and other leading natural gas producers had their first ministerial meetings for the GECF in Tehran in 2001. It was established as a forum to boost cooperation among member states similar to its oil counterpart, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.